'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' Finale Recap: A Hero in Villain's Clothing
'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' Finale Recap: A Hero in Villain's Clothing
Gina Pusateri
Gina Pusateri
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Is there anything more exciting than a Survivor finale? Well, maybe besides the whole "Let's remember our fallen comrades" part of the episode. But still, after 27 seasons, the finales are always great. Someone's going to be a million dollars richer tonight! Let's find out who.

Tyson wants to stick with his plan of taking Gervase and Monica with him to the end, and he knows that he might have to use his idol for Monica to keep her on their side.

But Monica knows that whoever comes back from Redemption Island will align him or herself with Ciera, so she wants to make sure she'll be good on either alliance so she doubles her chances to go to the finals.

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Redemption Island

At Redemption Island Camp, Hayden fills Laura and Tina in on what's been going on at camp and Tribal Council. Hayden is bummed because he won Big Brother, so he's yet to play a game like this and experience being voted out. He also thought that he and Ciera were very close to swaying Monica at the last vote, but if he's on the jury and it's Tyson, Gervase and Monica in the final three, he's voting for Jeff. He also likes his chances going up against two grandmas in the challenge, because he has obviously learned nothing watching these ladies kick butt over the last 35 days.

The final RI challenge is for Tina, Laura and Hayden to stand with one foot on one end of a teeter-totter to balance a vase on the other end. The first two people who drop their vases will join the jury and the last one standing will re-enter the game and win a clue to the hidden immunity idol.

After only about 15 minutes, Laura starts to struggle. But she has a miraculous recovery which seemed near impossible. But right after she recovers, Hayden goes to wipe some sweat from his eye and drops his vase. So much for good odds against the grandmas.

Another 15 minutes go by and Laura starts to get shaky again. She pleads to Tina to give this to her, but Tina didn't lose a challenge for her daughter; there's no way she's doing it for Laura.

Tina starts to get a bit shaky, but Laura loses her balance again and, this time, she can't recover. So Tina's back for yet another chance at a million dollars.

Before she goes, Laura has a sweet moment with Ciera. Laura is emotional because she feels like she's let Ciera down, because she's always tried to teach her kids to finish strong. Through tears, Ciera reassures her how proud she is of her and how much she's learned about being a better woman and a better mom from Laura while being out here. And no, I definitely wasn't getting teary-eyed or anything at Survivor. Okay, maybe a little bit.


Tina wastes no time in starting a search for the idol. And she and Ciera are again on the right track looking in the tree, but they have no success since Tyson already has the idol.

Tina and Ciera agree that they should try to get Monica on their side so all three of them can go to the finals. But their approaches differ a bit. Tina tries to tell Monica that the jury hates her for being on Tyson's team, but Ciera thinks the better way to appeal to Monica is to stroke her ego and be nice to her.

Immunity Challenge

The first immunity challenge this week is for the survivors to balance a table with a rope, retrieve 10 blocks and stack all 10 while keeping them upright for the entire process. If any of their blocks fall, they have to go back and re-stack them before getting another block. The first person to finish wins immunity and a spot in the final four.

The ladies start off with the lead. But soon Tina can't keep her blocks stacked for anything, which leaves room for Ciera and Tyson to gain some ground. Monica, too, keeps dropping her stack and Tyson just keeps moving slow and steady enough to the point where he doesn't make any mistakes. So Tyson wins immunity.

Loser Shuffle

Even though Tyson has the hidden immunity idol, he keeps talking about not using it and keeping it as a souvenir for his GF Rachel. In related news: that is the stupidest idea I have ever heard. If getting to the finals with your alliance is important to you, you play that idol.

He wants the members of his alliance, Monica and Gervase, to make the decision on who to vote for tonight: either Tina or Ciera. Of course, Monica wants to vote off Tina because Tina has not had any influence in voting off any of the jury, therefore more of a threat to get jury votes. And Gervase thinks it should be Ciera because of how hard she's played the game, the fact that she's a single mother and that the jury wouldn't want to give a million dollars to Tina because she's already won (a not-so-stellar theory, considering the game has seen double winners in the past).

Gervase tries to intimidate Monica into voting his way by physically putting his hands on her shoulders and leaning over her. He's disgusting. And Ciera and Tina tell Monica that she needs to make a big move to win jury votes. Monica is feeling a little hurt and manipulated by everyone and she just wants to make the best decision for herself.

Tribal Council

Right away, Tina admits to Jeff that she sought out Ciera because she knew about the tight alliance of three. And Ciera minces no words trying to convince Monica how Tyson and Gervase are villains and she needs to come over to the "good side."

Tyson denies ever using the words "lap dog" in reference to Monica at any point. Which I can't remember if it's necessarily true, but it doesn't seem like much of a stretch. Someone check the tape on that.

Anyway, Monica makes a big speech about doing things for herself for the rest of the game and how she won't be talked into any more decisions. For some reason, this makes Gervase nervous.

Tyson does decide to give his hidden immunity idol to Gervase, which is obviously the best move because HE HAS ONE TO SPARE. But he doesn't end up needing it because Monica proves loyal once again to her alliance and they all vote Ciera out.

Tina is surprised to still be around, but she knows she has to win the next immunity or she will be out of options. Even Tyson knows this challenge is do or die, and if he doesn't win today, then nothing he's done up to this point will matter.

Final Immunity Challenge

Of course, the final immunity challenge is insane, but unfortunately for Tina and Monica, it isn't an endurance challenge. They have to run through a series of obstacles collecting bags of puzzle pieces and then run up a ton of stairs to drop off two bags at a time. Then they have to slide down a giant water slide to get the next two bags. When they have all of their bags, they have to solve a puzzle that will give them hints to a combination to release a sword and raise a flag. Winner goes to the finals. Got all that? Good.

Monica starts off with the lead, followed closely by Gervase. Monica races up the stairs with Gervase on her heels, and when Gervase tries to pass her, she throws an elbow his way to block him. It's the Culpepper way.

Tina's lack of athletic ability (because she's, you know, 57) causes her to fall quite behind. And Tyson makes up a lot of ground and is the first person to start on his puzzle, but with Gervase and Monica close behind. Tina doesn't follow until quite some time later, but she's good with puzzles and manages to get herself back in it.

But Tyson gives himself too big of a lead and really runs away with the challenge at the end. He wins immunity and allows himself a rare moment of celebration.

Another Loser Shuffle

Monica is still a bit upset that Tyson played his idol for Gervase at the last TC. She thinks that if they had 100% confidence in their alliance, they wouldn't have felt the need to. Tina tries to use Monica's irritation to get her to vote Gervase with her and force a two-two tie that would then force Gervase and Tina to make a fire, which Tina thinks she would stand a chance of winning. The only problem with that plan for Monica is the possibility that Tina would win and end up sitting next to her at the finals, and she doesn't think she can beat Tina.

Another Tribal Council

Tina lays her plans out there saying that she's hoping to force a tie to make fires. But it does little good because, again, Monica makes the decision to stay with her alliance and they all vote Tina off.

Monica, Tyson and Gervase are all obviously thrilled to have made it to the finals. Gervase is convinced that he has this in the bag (rolling my eyes so hard), Tyson wants to get the win for Rachel and Monica is so happy to have achieved something on her own without her famous football player husband.

And, more importantly, we don't have to endure the Ghosts of Survivors Past segment! Hooray!

Final Tribal Council

Gervase starts off by talking about how impressed he is with the way he played this game. He says he's an old-school player who played a new-school game after a 13-year layoff. He also takes full credit for blindsiding Aras, which may not be such a great idea considering he's, you know, on the jury and everything.

Monica wants to address the elephant in the room by saying that she was not dragged along like a little puppy dog. She says that she had three choices in the last three Tribal Councils, and she never chose the path to switch on her alliance because she thought her best chance was sitting next to these two guys because she would have less blood on her hands. She is proud of her strategic play and of the social maneuvering that she's done to get here.

Tyson says when he came back to play again, he wanted to do it for fun and with no regrets. But that all changed when Rachel "sacrificed" herself at Redemption Island. From then on, he wanted to win for her. He gets emotional when he talks about Rachel, but then he claims he's made huge moves and found idols and won challenges. He also says everything he did was strategic and never did anything out of malice.

Vytas starts the questions off by basically telling Tyson that he's not going to vote for him, because he threatened him while he was in the game that if he voted for him, he would not get his jury vote. And since he doesn't make idle threats, it's between Gervase and Monica for him.

Caleb asks Monica to tell the jury something from the heart instead of from her head. She opens up about always being Brad's wife and how now everything is about her and she needs a badge of honor for herself. She gets very emotional talking about how it's finally her time now, and she's going to show her husband and her kids that she's a force to be reckoned with on her own.

Ciera asks Tyson if he considers himself a villain or a hero. He says that he doesn't consider himself a villain because every move he's made was calculated and not personal. He's not sure he's a hero, though he's a hero to Rachel, but he's not a villain. Ciera also asks Gervase if he ever really planned to vote out Tyson, and he said he would have if the time was right, but he couldn't go with her because he knew he would be next.

Laura, apparently, isn't satisfied with how Monica opened up before, because she asks Monica to be vulnerable. Monica breaks down again, saying she was emotionally wrecked, especially in the last few weeks, but she worked through it. And not only that, she thrived in the game and in challenges.

Aras asks each of the final three to pick someone to win that's not them. Gervase says Tyson because he has so many elements of his game. Monica also says Tyson, because he out-played everyone in the challenges and found both hidden idols. And, surprisingly, Tyson says Monica because he respects the game she played when the tribes were split and then when it continued on after the merge.

Before the winner is revealed, we see that Caleb votes for Tyson and Vytas votes for Monica. But that's the only vote Monica gets and Gervase doesn't get any so...

Tyson is the winner of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. What do you think of the winner? And did you think this season was as great as I thought it was? Did you stick around for the reunion? Sound off in the comments. And thanks for enjoying Survivor with me. See you for season 28!

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